Comic relief for soldiers overseas

By Christina Latham

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Whatcom Community College student Pete Redpath, 42, is volunteering his time with local comic book shop Cosmic Comics to organize a comic book drive for soldiers posted overseas. “There are food drives, blood drives, why not a comic book drive,” Redpath asked.

Redpath said he originally thought of the idea for the drive because of the four-and-a half years he spent in the Army overseas. In 1998, Redpath spent six months stationed in Egypt and, during a 30-day outpost, he said he read the same three comic books over and over.

There were movies and books available but he enjoyed the “22 pages of reminiscing about my youth,” he said. “Every time I read a comic, I notice something different.”

He said reading the comic books reminded him of “a more innocent time, a trip down memory lane,” and he wants to share this experience with other soldiers overseas.

The United Services Organization (USO) will be transporting the donations to soldiers in March, Redpath said. The USO is a nonprofit organization that supports soldiers and their families through a variety of programs and services including troop care packages, according to their website.

Whatcom’s Veterans Services Coordinator Jarid Corbitt said that soldiers are happy to get any package from home. “A box is a welcome gift,” he said.

T.J. Timpton, a co-owner of Cosmic Comics, said he is donating 2,500 to 3,000 comics to the drive.

Redpath said he has volunteered to organize fundraisers before, including an event where he collaborated with Cosmic Comics to hold a board game competition which raised money for the Whatcom Humane Society.

He said he was inspired by his love for animals and because “Cosmic Comics is a dog friendly store, having two of the owners’ dogs to welcome customers,” he saw it as a way to reach out and help the community by combining things he is passionate about.

Donations for the comic drive will be accepted through March 15 at Cosmic Comics, across the street from Bellingham High School in downtown Bellingham. Donations will also be accepted in the Whatcom Veteran’s Affairs Office in Laidlaw 117.

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